CHC-Related Federal and State Programs

All Community Health Centers (CHCs) are automatically located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) by the nature of being Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). The federal government has set up many programs to help Community Health Centers attract and retain qualified personnel.

Note: For a more detailed explanation of CHCs and FQHCs, please link to our About CHCs page.
For an explanation of HPSA designation, please link to our Understanding HPSAs and MUAs page.

The following is a list of some federal and state programs that target HPSAs, and therefore CHCs, with a brief description of each:

Please click or scroll down for:
National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
NHSC Scholarship Program
NHSC Federal & State Program Loan Repayment Programs
Rural Health Clinics Act
Area Health Education Centers
J-1 Visa Waivers

1. NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE CORPS (NHSC) (Section 333, PHS Act) provides for assignment of federally employed and/or scholarship-obligated physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other health professionals to designated HPSAs.

Click HERE to link to the Bureau of Primary Health Care’s (BPHC’s) NHSC webpage.

2. NHSC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM (Section 338A, PHS Act) provides scholarships for the training of health professionals who agree to serve in the NHSC; requires obligated service in designated HPSAs.

Click HERE to link to the BPHC’s scholar-related application information.

3. NHSC LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM (Section 338A, PHS Act) provides primary care health professionals with payment of up to $60,000 for a two year full-time commitment in a HPSA, and up to $170,000 for a five year committment.  Part-time options are also available. Payment is for use in repayment of educational loans. NHSC also provides matching funds to states operating their own loan repayment programs for clinicians.

Click HERE for information on NHSC’s Loan Repayment Program awarded directly to individual clinicians.

Click HERE for information on State Loan Repayment Programs.

4. RURAL HEALTH CLINICS ACT (Public Law 95-210) provides for Medicare and Medicaid cost-based reimbursement of services provided by physician assistants and nurse practitioners in clinics in rural HPSAs.

Click HERE to link to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Rural Health Center webpage.

5. AREA HEALTH EDUCATION CENTER (AHEC) (section 781, PHS Act) requires centers to provide service to shortage areas and involves preceptorships for NHSC scholars.

Click HERE to link to the National AHEC Association’s webpage.

6. J-1 VISA WAIVER PROGRAM allows foreign physicians educated at U.S. institutions to remain in the country in exchange for service in public health.

Click HERE for more information on J-1 Visa Waiver eligible physicians.